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Campbell Brown

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Us 13, Pakistan 9, Mccain 8, Afghanistan 8, United States 8, Yemen 7, Obama 6, Washington 6, Lieberman 5, John Mccain 5, Nutrisystem 5, Iraq 4, Virginia 4, John King 3, Harry Reid 3, Doug Wilder 3, America 3, U.s. 3, Jackson 3, Wyoming 3,
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  CNN    Campbell Brown    News/Business.  

    January 10, 2010
    8:00 - 9:00pm EST  

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jim moret, joining us today, "the last day of my life" is his book. be sure to check it out. thanks for share something of that with us today. >> thanks for having me on, randi. >> i'm randi kaye at cnn headquarters in atlanta. "state of the union" with john king begins right now. i am john king, and this is "state of the union." president obama takes responsibility for a national security breakdown. >> ultimately the buck stops with me. >> is the administration taking the right steps to fix things, to keep americans safe? in an exclusive interview we'll get a firsthand assessment from two leading senators who are visiting key fronts in the war against al qaeda. top republican on the armed services committee, john mccain and the chairman of the homeland security committee, independent, joe lieberman. the new year brings fresh pain to americans seeking work. when will the jobs come back? i'll ask one of the president's
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top economic advisers, christina romer. and american dispatch, the grand teton mountains of wyoming, beautiful views and hopes this new year means more visitors and an economic rebound. 20 years ago, virginians made him the nation's first elected african-american governor. doug wilder gets the last word. this is the "state of the union" report for sunday, january 10th. we begin this sunday with two key senators and two paramount questions. is al qaeda stronger and smart are than we have been led to believe? and our recent intelligence failures and security laptss, isolated incidents or proof of shortcomings that leave us vulnerable to terrorist attacks? two chilling incidents brought these questions to the fore. the christmas day attempt to
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blow up an airlines flight was the first. as the president promises to improve airport security and information sharing among intelligence agencies, let's get an assessment now of the threat and the administration's response from two senators who are spending this congressional recess traveling to the front lines in the fight against al qaeda and islamic extre extremism, after stops in iraq, kuwait, afghanistan, pakistan and lebanon, senators john mccain of arizona and joseph lieberman of connecticut join us exclusively from their latest stop in israel. thank you for joining us this morning. it's a perfect time based on your trip to have this conversation. i want to go through your many important stops on this trip, but i want to start first with the biggest question the american people are asking about -- asking themselves after these recent attacks. have we underestimated al qaeda's threat? first to you, senator mccain. we are dating back to the bush administration, we were told
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they were scattered and they were not capable of mounting a big sustained attack? have they regrouped from what we are doing to find new ways to attack us? >> john, that requires a long answer and i will try to make it short. i think america is safer since 9/11 but we are certainly not safe. we have a long way to go, but we made significant progress. i think we've shown that al qaeda can land most anywhere. where there is fertile ground, they're going to breed. now the latest, of course, is yemen where there certainly is a significant challenge. al qaeda continues to inhabit areas along the afghan/pakistan border which, again, argues for success in afghanistan. but i think that we have to continue our emphasis and our focus on the fact that this challenge is not going away anytime soon. >> senator lieberman, to that point you are chairman of the homeland security committee.
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as al qaeda adapts its tactics and we have seen it in recent weeks, the new things they are trying to do, has the united states kept up? are we ahead of them, if you will, not only in improving airport security but in looking overseas in our intelligence gathering or are we still ahead of the game? >> we're ahead of the game but this is a war. there are times when i think because it's such an unconventional war that people in our country may forget it. it's a war with many battle fields. we are on the verge of really an extraordinary turnaround and success in iraq. president obama is committed to win the war in afghanistan, and i think we have an extraordinary team there that john and i visited a few days ago. we will succeed in afghanistan. we have chased some of the al qaeda enemy to yemen, but the fact is that in the last year there have been more than a
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dozen known attempted terrorist attacks on the homeland of the united states. three of them broke through our defenses. two of them successfully killing people. one in arkansas earlier this year where a u.s. army recruiter was killed at his recruiting station simply because he was wearing the uniform of the u.s. army and second, of course, nidal hasan, the murderer at ft. hood. and the fourth was only by an act of god was not a disaster, and that's abdulmutallab, the detroit bomber. in any war, when the enemy breaks through your lines, have you to regroup and strengthen your defenses. because the truth is, in this war, we cannot set any goal less than 100% success. that means we have to close the gaps. i think some people have to be held accountable for the mistakes, the human errors that the president acknowledged that were made that enabled that nigerian terrorist to get on that plane to detroit. we have to change some things in
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the system. >> who? if someone should be held accountable -- forgive me for interrupting. if someone should be held accountable, who? >> i think the investigation will show that. but the point is, it seems to me clear, beginning with the department of state, when the father came in our embassy in nigeria, not only should that name have been sent to the national counterterrorism center but somebody should have checked the visa list and immediately pulled that terrorist's visa so he never got on that plane. secondly, something at the counterterrorism center went wrong. that's the place we created after 9/11. it served us very well, but it did not, in this case. so if human errors were made, i think the humans that made those errors have to be disciplined so they never happen again. >> i know have you been traveling, and i am sure you are familiar the president stepped forward and said the buck stops with me, i'm responsible.
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if you're mad, i am the president of the united states. the ultimate responsibility lies with me. and something else, some say there was a shift in tone. let's listen to the president. >> we are at war. we are at war against al qaeda, a far reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people and that is plotting to strike us again. we will do whatever it takes to defeat them. >> at times, both of you have been critical of the administration saying this is my words, not yours. and it's a bit too soft. he has changed some things from the bush administration, some of which you support and some of which you don't support. senator mccain, when you hear the president say that, you know many subconservative critics have said he doesn't view this as a war. when you hear him say that, are you seeing a new tone or substantive policy shifts that make you feel better? >> i appreciate the president's comments and i think they are important. they are a departure from his language before.
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second of all, people should be held responsible for what happened, and we can't go back to the old washington kind of routine, we're all responsible, therefore, no one is responsible. someone's got to be held responsible. second of all, i don't think the president's action matched his rhetoric when we send this individual to a civilian court. that person should be tried as an enemy combatant and terrorist. if we are at war we should not try that individual in a court other than a military trial. to have a person be able to get lawyered up when we need that information very badly, i think betrays or contradicts the president's view that we're at war. >> you promised close relations between the united states and pakistan. there are tensions. they think there's too many strings attached to u.s. aid money and they're upset with the escalating number of drone attacks, going after al qaeda
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and taliban targets. is your sense, senator lieberman to you first, is pakistan a full partner or are they still, as many have said they have done in the past, picking and choosing when to fight, which targets to hit? >> pakistan is a full partner in the war on terrorism. i think john and i both felt that we've seen a really significant change in pakistan on this visit. i think they've clearly understood that they, the pakistani people, are the targets of terrorism. they've suffered terribly, including, for instance, attacks at mosques, terrorists attacks at mosques. i think they're also beginning to understand there's not a clear separation between the taliban fighting in afghanistan and the taliban fighting in pakistan. there's an overlap. they are good partners. i would say particularly, we met with the chief of the army, and the pakistani army is on the move. it pushed the taliban out of the
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swat province, and it pretty much cleared south waziristan. i think there's a possibility we'll see movement in north waziristan. there are issues we disagree on. it's a complicated relationship. but i think fundamentally, pakistan is our ally today in the war on terrorism, and a very critical ally. it's based on the understanding that we have a common enemy. we also have common values, democracy, and a common enemy, and together we're going to beat it. >> senator mccain, let me get your assessment of the stop in afghanistan. a very difficult challenge ahead for the united states. i want it in the context of something you said when you were with us about three months ago. listen to this. >> corruption in the government is a huge problem, and we have to have -- that's part of the equation, and we have to have the karzai government show us that we -- it is going to truly reform. >> let's start with the karzai government, senator mccain. while you are there, president
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karzai is trying another time to get his cabinet approved. if he cannot even get a cabinet approved, he does not have the faith of other people in his government that these people aren't corrupt, they know how to do the basics of good governance. if we can't get to that simple first step, how want we build institutions and build roads, put people to work and build confidence in the afghan people, trust your central government, not the taliban? >> they have a long way to go in the area of corruption. but the fact the parliament rejected his nominees, i think you could look at a democratic process moving forward. i believe president karzai recognizes that what he's just been through was an important lesson to him. we have to keep pressing on the corruption issue. let me tell you two other things that concern me. first of all, i think we have the right strategy and the right resources and the right leadership. we went outside kandahar to an operating base where americans and afghan soldiers are operating together.
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two things concern me. one is the statement the president made about leaving by mid-2011 has reverberated throughout the region and bred uncertainty. i wish he would reassure our allies and friends that we are there to win. i don't think that there are plans to build the afghan army to the size necessary to take over the responsibilities that we will have to hand over to them. is the karzai government effective yet? i think they have a long way to go, but i know the afghan people do not want the taliban back, and he has that advantage. it will be a tough long slaug, but i'm confident now we have the recipe for success. >> senator mccain and lieberman will stand by with us. when we come back, fresh from iraq, is the united states on track to get combat troops out by the august deadline? we'll also bring them home for a couple quick questions on politics here on the home front. stay with us. $$$$$$$$$$
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we're back with senators john mccain and joe lieberman both joining us exclusively from jerusalem. you know the timetable to get the combat troops out by august
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2010. senator mccain are we on track to meet that time line and do you have any concerns that it has become a political push and is it in sync with conditions on the ground is a better way to put it? >> no, i'm very satisfied. i wish every american knew that the month of december was the first month without a single american killed, which is the best indicator of success that we could ever have. and our troops are still working hard. but the environment is dramatically changed and we have won there. now, the iraqi government will take two steps forward and one step back. it's a messy business, democracy and we will see problems and challenges and continued attacks. but the ability of al qaeda or the extremists to have a sustained campaign of attacks in iraq is not there anymore. general odierno is confident that after the elections which now will hopefully be in march, that we would be able to draw
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down rapidly. i'm very pleased with the success there. it's still tough but they have succeeded. >> george mitchell your former colleague in the senate who is the president's envoy to the region now, he had said if he could get the israelis and the palestinians back to the bargaining table, if he can get them there, he thinks you could do this in some years. is there any reason either one of you share that optimism? do you think they're at a point if you can get them in a room they can get this done in a year or two? >> i do. i do. i think that there is a heightened understanding that with other tensions in the region, i just mentioned iran, i mentioned other situations such as better and when i say better, more effective capability of hezbollah in southern lebanon and other threats that there's a certain urgency to the peace process and i believe that not only is it possible but i think it's very likely you could see
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progress in this area. >> you've both talked about some progress in some optimism in afghanistan, at least on the military side, progress and optimism that pakistan is being a better partner there. what about the question of yemen in the context of i want you to listen to remarks by yemen's prime minister for security and defense. he said in the w"the washington" on thursday -- what must the united states do when it comes to the al qaeda and terrorist challenge in yemen? >> of course, this has to be done in coordination with the government and military of yemen and we're doing that. i mean, look, it's important to say that president obama has authorized a significant increase in american support for the yemeni military against al qaeda there. and you just have to look at the
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three cases in which our homeland defenses were broken through this year. arkansas, ft. hood and the detroit bomber. they -- all three of those have a connection to al qaeda and at rabian peninsula, headquartered in yemen. they have carried forward not to let al qaeda develop a sanctuary, a safe haven there in yemen. i think we're doing that effectively. >> i want to bring you home, gentlemen. it's an election year here in the united states. happy new year to you as you travel the world. senator lieberman's calling in connecticut, christopher dodd will not seek re-election. there's a gentleman on the screen right now, john mccain of arizona who is on the ballot this year and some have questioned that. this week, senator mccain
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launched new ads. i want you to listen to this. >> president obama is leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt america. i stand in his way every day. >> senator lieberman, you are close friends. you stood by your republican friend during the 2008 presidential campaign. do you agree with that ad? >> you know, every now and then, john mccain and i disagree. that's one of the cases. i don't agree with that. i think that the president understands the importance of bringing our government back into balance. he inherited a national debt that had doubled in the preceding eight years. and i think you're going to hear from the president in his state of the union, maybe earlier, about tough medicine for our economy. we need it and i hope there will be bipartisan support in congress for doing that.
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as our economy begins to grow again, we're not going to get to real growth until we can assure the rest of the world that we can pay our bills. right now, we're just adding to our debt. >> senator mccain, many still consider you the leader of the republican party. the man who is chairman of the republican national committee has a book out. he's caused quite a stir this week. he's been criticizing republicans, president bush, your campaign to a degree. he says he's not sure if the republicans can win, take back the house and senate in the 2010 elections. do you have confidence in michael steele as the party chairman or does he need to go? >> i have confidence in michael stoo steele. i've worked with the president in a number of areas in afghanistan and others. the president promised that he would stop the wasteful spending. he's not vetoed these pork barrel bills. we have increased the debt and deficit dramatically. no one believed that general motors and chrysler would be part of the -- would be owned by the federal government. the spending is out of control
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and it's not been brought under control. that's what i'm fighting every day. we laid a debt on our children and grand children that is unconscionable. the pork barrel spending and corruption and back room deals without cameras has gone on. that's what i'm fighting. >> gentlemen, we thank you for taking time on a hectic trip to join us this morning, especially for your assessment of what's going on overseas. we'll see you when you're back here in the states. thank you both. the national unemployment rate is 10% and the economy is still losing jobs. up next, we ask one of the president's top economic adviser s about that.
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joining me now in washington so discuss the economy and president obama's agenda for year two in office is christina romer. welcome back. >> great to be with you. >> we just had the december jobs report which was sobering in some regards. i want your help to the question we visited all 50 states and the question in each one is when is the economy going to bounce back. if you go back to december 2007, the unemployment rate was 5%. at that point there were 7.7 million americans unemployed. essentially everything has doubled. come forward to now, 10% unemployment, 15.3 million americans unemployed. when if we start the year at 10%
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unemployment, where will it be when we end this year? >> we first do have to talk about the december jobs report was a disappointment. we know it was a setback from november where we now know we actually added 4,000 jobs in that month. so that certainly is something to keep in mind. what you do know, though, is we are continuing the pattern of moderating job loss. i'll just give you one statistic. in the first quarter of 2009, we were losing 691,000 jobs a month. and now we know we are losing 69,000. that's still way too many, it's not job gains, but it's about one-tenth of when we came into office. when does it turn positive? we have been saying by spring. i think that's a realistic estimate. and your point of when does the unemployment start coming down? i think that's very much determined by how fast we grow.
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an important fact is gdp not only needs to grow, but it needs to grow at a normal rate. like 2.5% to actually bring down the unemployment rate. the thing we'll be looking for is do you see that robust gdp growth. >> let's get up and go to the wall for a minute. i want to take a closer look at the numbers you talked about. you talked about job losses. we can take a peek. the state of michigan has high unemployment. here is the job losses you talked about. at the beginning of the year we were up around 700,000 a month. so it is right to say this is progress, still bad news. americans are losing jobs, slight job gain in november. as you look at more stimulus money being spent in the new year, will that help bring the rate down and bring the job growth numbers up, keep this in the positive? >> there are targeted actions we can take at this point in the recovery that we think can help to jump start private sector job creation. like incentives for small businesses to hire.
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we see in the job numbers, firms are starting to dip their toe into hiring. >> on a temporary basis? >> on a temporary basis. >> they're not quite confident enough to give somebody a full-time job? >> that's a small incentive. they may say, well, i was going to hire permanently next year, and maybe with incentive i will do it this year. >> you have unemployment which is the orange line, and under employment which is the yellow line, people that love to work full time but because of the hard economy can only find a part-time job. when the economy starts to grow back and they come into the work force and those who have been discouraged and have stopped looking to come into the workforce and there are hundreds of thousands of them, is the likely even if the economy grows at 3%, the rate may go up as people look for jobs? >> you're absolutely right that there's a lot of uncertainty about the unemployment numbers precisely because of things like the labor force.
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if as i very much expect and hope we start to grow again robustly and when we start to add jobs, you're right, one of the first things that can happen is people have a sense of hope, some of the discouraged workers could come back in. that's why what we tend to focus on are the employment numbers. people coming back into the labor force is good for them and ultimately the economy and is something that can push the employment rate up. >> do you have any hesitation -- i understand your caution about picking a number, but do you have any hesitation in november, the unemployment rate will be lower than it is now? >> i don't want to make a prediction just because there is so much uncertainty. what i know is that we are seeing steady progress. i absolutely expect that progress to continue through next year. and i hope accelerate. >> let's have a seat and continue the conversation. i want to bring up another item on which the american
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people are feeling a crunch. they are uncertain about the job market. and energy prices also on the rise. home heating oil costs up a bit from this time last year, and prices at the pump, when people are driving to work or to look for a job, up nearly a dollar a gallon from this time a year ago. when you look at that, is that the market as you would expect or are there shenanigans in energy prices right now? >> i think it's largely the market one would expect. i think the main thing that this is getting at, and i think it's good that you bring it up, there are so many ways that ordinary families are really suffering through the recession. we tend to focus on the unemployment rates you talked about, but there are just lots of -- they've seen their pensions get decimated by the stock market, their housing values, they have suffered tremendously. that has always been sort of on the forefront of the president's mind is not only do we need to rescue this economy from the immediate crisis, to say go back over the last ten years, middle-class families have seen
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their standards of living stagnate. what are the other reforms we need to do to make them grow again? >> the middle class families paying higher energy prices or are uncertain about the job market, not always fair. in the next week, it's what they call bank bonus season. and the banks will begin to give their bonuses. and the president and his team often get blamed because people want to be mad at somebody. they blame the political leadership when they see behavior on wall street. we will see in the next week or two five, six, seven-digit, some say eight-digit bonuses for people in the banking industry. is there a message from the obama white house to the banks as they prepare to make these big announcements? >> for receiheaven's sakes, peo it does seem extraordinary. we always did it because that's what had to be done for the
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american people. nobody had to bail out the banks for the bank's sake. we know credit is the life blood of the modern economy and without it families cannot get loans to buy cars, and small businesses cannot get loans. we know the financial sector matters. but at the same time, right, we have had to take these extraordinary actions and you would certainly think that the financial institutions that are now doing a little bit better would have some sense. this big bonus season, of course, it's going to offend the american people. it offends me. >> as you shift toward trying to control the deficit as well as to keep the economy going again, some tough choices. you have to decide what to cut, what to squeeze, maybe find new revenues. in that context, i want to remind you of a promise the president made late in the campaign. this is barack obama september 2008. >> i can make a firm pledge. no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase, not your
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income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes. >> does that stand as we head into year two of the obama administration and you try to make the difficult choices to start to bring the deficit under control? does that promise still stand? not any of your taxes if you're under 250,000. >> larry: >> y-- >> yes but let me talk to the bigger issue. yes, to the degree we care deeply about the definite. to the year 2010, that is going to be something the president is focusing on and talking about. it is important to understand, we are also talking about actions taken right now, targeted aks to jump start job creation. there's no conflict between these. anybody will tell you you don't get your budget deficit under control at a 10% unemployment rate. we absolutely have to get people back to work. obviously for their sake but also for the budget deficit. >> we wish you luck in the year ahead.
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up next, a quick check of the headlines. 20 years ago he was sworn in as the nation's first elected african-american governor. douglas wilder of virginia gets the last word, next.
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when i could be all men that were created equal and were endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among those were life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, i into you it meant me. >> newsmakers, analysts and reporters out on the sunday morning talk shows but only one gets the last word. that honor goes to the man you just heard speaking right there. 20 years ago, l. douglas wilder, the former governor of virginia. >> thank you so much for having me. >> you made history on that day, 20 years ago, the first african-american elected governor. i want to spend time on that. i want to begin with the big
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store in the news today, harry reid is quoted in a new book about the 2008 presidential campaign saying what he acknowledges were some insensitive, racially insensitive remarks about then candidate barack obama. here's what harry reid is quoted as saying in the book -- in covering your campaign 20 years ago if i had leaned across the table and said you know, governor because of your lighter skin, you have a better chance, what would your reaction have been? >> i would have thought you were from another planet because i would have thought you were not aware of america's people, you were not aware of the real virginians, that you were not
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aware of the fair-mindedness of most americans. i think the reed comment, unfortunately as he's described it and the apology should be to the totality of the american people. because we are not where he thought we may have been a year ago. we crossed that threshold as you pointed, 20 years ago when we said we don't care what the color of this guy's skin is, what is my dialect, for instance? it certainly wouldn't be described as -- >> southern gentleman. >> it wouldn't be boss tonian or harvard nor english for that marte. the unfortunate thing is, john, that one snippet, that recent adventure by harry reid illustrates the need for more open discussion about race and put it where it belongs, into the closet. obama wasn't elected because he was or was not of any color. he represented a change. he was representing a fastening
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of the dreams and aspirations of the american people to someone who could bring about change. i would have liked to have thought that's what i was trying to do in virginia. saddened to see that 20 years later with, there still is that degree of apprehension on behalf of some people who are in leadership positions. >> there are some and to be clear their republican critics who may see something to be gained here. the african-american chairman of the republican national committee, for example, said he believes senator reid should step down from that leadership position. >> i don't think that. i think what reid was giving was a personal opinion which wasn't affecting the laws or the operation of the dispensation of justice in our country. as you would compare that to what trent lott was saying, he was saying in effect, it's unfortunate that what strom thurmond was dreaming and wanting to do wasn't fulfilled because it eliminated some other problem. he was in a position to change
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or not change some of the laws he saw to be a problem. reid's was unfortunate. he has enough problems on his own trying to get re-electioned in nevada. >> you mentioned he should be more transparent and have a more open discussion. has it had an effect on race relations in the country? is this a new era? have you seen improvement in race relations? 69% of blacks say yes, 50% of whites say no change or it's made things worse. 30% of african-americans say no change or made things worse. 49% of white people say no change or made things worse. does that surprise you? >> no. i think president obama had possibly the best team you could assemble to get him elected. is that team assembled to govern, to be there to address the real problem, inner city
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people, he made an excellent speech at the national conference in which he made several commitments. i think he's going to fulfill them. he wants to fulfill them. a lot of people, as you know, bottom line are saying, what difference has it made in my life? okay, so you've bailed the banks out. you've bailed the financial institutions out. how has that helped me in the mortgage industry has been left in one position. housing industry another position. how has that helped me? those poll numbers don't surprise me at all. >> in fact after the midterm elections in which a republican won the governor of your state after successive democratic victories an virginia was turning more blue, you said it's a wakeup call for democrats across the country that the republican won. you say independents see -- these are the words in the news article, they tell me if they're your words, careless spending or overspending by the obama administration. is that fair? >> i think that's a fair statement because people are looking to see, well, okay, all
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of the stimulus money and you might be calling for a new stimulus. gets back to the bottom line question in these polls. how has that helped me? john doe is asking that question. the majority of the people in this country forget republican or democrat. they're interested in fiscal responsibility, accountability and productivity. do they want reform? yes. but they want meaningful reform. >> has that administration passed that test at the one-year mark? >> i think it's too early to even give a grade, even though i ask my students in class to give a grade, i don't. because i think the obama administration inherited a tremendous amount of problems. not just one. everyday things change. i know from being governor, it takes a year or two to get your feet under you. hi some degree of executive experience. obama's had none at all. when you consider that he's only been in office a year, has he got the strength, to develop
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what that office portends and what can happen? i think he's on his way to doing it. >> as a role model to all children, a political leader, white, black, anything else across this country, for the success you've had, for someone who picked a few fights with the gun lobby, gilbert arenas is a member of the washington wizards. i'm going to the game today. he has been suspended indefinitely for bringing guns into the locker room. what does a role model like doug wilder see when he looks at this situation? >> i hear it from people across the streets and through the city and state. they are upset. they are very upset with a guy who's come as far as he has come to be as well off as he is financially to have to resort to this. it's a great disappointment to many of them. you'd be surprised at the number
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of them who say we are not unhappy that he's suspended. i think it's a question of setting a right example, not just for the kids to live by but setting it by how you live your life so they can call you a true role model. >> governor doug wilder. good to see you. as close, 20 years ago i covered that campaign. i was 10 and you were 20. >> incidentally i'm having my birthday next sunday. i'll be 79 years old. i'm going to be doing a little book on all of those issues in the 20-year period of time and how i think america has moved up. >> i look forward to reading it. you have aged far more gracefully than the anchor of this program. good to see you. amid the breath-taking beauty, the recurring questions of our coast-to-coast travels, is the economy finally ready to rebound? stay with us. ( clicking )
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from the very beginning on "state of the union," we promised ourselves and much more importantly we prommed you to get out of washington as often as we can, to see firsthand how the big policy and political debates here impact where you live. i have learned so much and met so many remarkable people along the way. if our first year and the first year of the historic obama
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presidency we set out to visit all 50 states. we visit beautiful wyoming. it's known for yellow stone and grand teton. in a tough economic time, the tourism industry is one of the most accurate bedroom terz of consumer confidence. let's take a closer look. in 2009, during the recession, july fourth travel was doin', labor day travel down. national park visits up a bit. families can get there relatively inexpensively. up 4% in 2009. in our american dispatch we hit the slopes at jackson hole. i did on the snowboard. we heard cautious optimism that this new year will bring bigger crowds, bigger spending and the seeds of recovery. >> reporter: the grand teton peak reaches nearly 14,000 feet. this above the cloud's view, part of jackson hole's wonder
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and its leading industry. beauty is big business here and wyoming, a case study how a bad economy impacts travel and tourism. with family budgets tight, 2009 saw record visiting as to inexpensive national parks to grand teton and yellow stone. and lots of open space on the more expensive slopes at places like the jackson hole mountain resort. >> how are you doing today? conditions are pretty good. where nick has worked for two winters now. >> it's snowing and i love to be outside and have this be my office with the views i get and the benefits i get, it's great. >> have a good run, sir. >> reporter: an up-close look now at whether 2010 will bring more people and recovery for a guy who had an all too close view of the economy's crash. >> i used to work in finance in new york city. unfortunately, i lost that job around february 2008.
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i was in global wealth management and operations where i was seeing a lot of terminations and liquidations come flowing in. people just did not trust their money in stocks anymore. >> reporter: in this job, a vastly different pay scale but also a very different perspecti perspective. >> it's fun today, huh. >> in this world i'm not able to save any money, living paycheck by paycheck, compared to when i was working finance in new york city, it was much nicer. i was able to put some away, i was making more money. however, my lifestyle over there was more stressful than it is now. >> reporter: his move from wall street to the lift line is in itself a sign of the times. >> have a good time. >> we didn't grow as quickly as we'd like. >> reporter: in years past, jackson hole mountain resort president jerry bland had to seek temporary visas for foreign workers. not this year. >> 100% domestic. we had 500 people show up for
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200 jobs. the quality and educational capability of people who came in the door was extraordinary. >> reporter: the recession hit in the middle of a $100 million improvement project, including a new tram to the resort's highest peak, forcing bland to deal with the credit crunch he says continues to hamper businesses. >> we had to do a refinance. we were able to put it together. it was a tough negotiation. it took a long time. it's not back to where it should be. we have to loosen the reins a lot more. >> reporter: after a tough 2009, he's cautiously optimistic the slopes will be more crowded in the new year, but only in the travel and tourism industry heeds recession lessons. >> they're asking for deals and they're getting them. >> reporter: if you didn't do that, if you were stubborn and said this is our profit margin, what happens? >> you'll lose volume. volume for us is key. >> reporter: snowboard run
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during a recent visit found modest crowds but christmas week business was up from last year and bookings for the rest of january and february are resort officials optimistic. >> i think people have been conservative, been holding their pocketbooks pretty close for a while. i think they're ready to jump out. >> our thanks to everyone at jackson hole and everyone we've met on the course of our 50-state tour. we'll spend more time next week discussing everything we have learned. in the meantime, if you're curious, check out cnn.com/stateoftheuni cnn.com/stateoftheunion. join us again next sunday and every sunday at 9:00 eastern for the first and last word in sunday talk. until then, i'm john king in washington. take care. you're you. aarp understands that. that's why they endorse products from top companies... so people 50 plus can choose health coverage options...
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